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verb re·lease \ri-ˈlēs\

Simple Definition of release

  • : to allow (a person or animal) to leave a jail, cage, prison, etc. : to set (someone or something) free

  • : to stop holding (someone or something)

  • : to allow (a substance) to enter the air, water, soil, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of release



  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude <release hostages> <release pent-up emotions> <release the brakes>; also :  to let go :  dismiss <released from her job>

  3. 2 :  to relieve from something that confines, burdens, or oppresses <was released from her promise>

  4. 3 :  to give up in favor of another :  relinquish <release a claim to property>

  5. 4 :  to give permission for publication, performance, exhibition, or sale of; also :  to make available to the public <the commission released its findings> <release a new movie>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to move from one's normal position (as in football or basketball) in order to assume another position or to perform a second assignment


play \-ˈlē-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of release in a sentence

  1. The hostages have been released.

  2. The judge released the prisoner.

  3. The lion was released from its cage.

  4. There is a lot of controversy over whether or not wolves should be released into the park.

  5. I released my son's hand, and he ran out onto the playground.

  6. The factory faced serious fines for releasing dangerous chemicals into the river.

  7. Heat is released into the atmosphere by cars.

  8. During exercise, the body releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel better.

  9. She started to cry, releasing all of her repressed emotion.

  10. Exercise is a good way to release stress.

Origin and Etymology of release

Middle English relesen, from Anglo-French relesser, from Latin relaxare to relax

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of release

free, independent, sovereign, autonomous mean not subject to the rule or control of another. free stresses the complete absence of external rule and the full right to make all of one's own decisions <you're free to do as you like>. independent implies a standing alone; applied to a state it implies lack of connection with any other having power to interfere with its citizens, laws, or policies <the colony's struggle to become independent>. sovereign stresses the absence of a superior power and implies supremacy within a thing's own domain or sphere <separate and sovereign armed services>. autonomous stresses independence in matters pertaining to self-government <in this denomination each congregation is regarded as autonomous>.

free, release, liberate, emancipate, manumit mean to set loose from restraint or constraint. free implies a usually permanent removal from whatever binds, confines, entangles, or oppresses <freed the animals from their cages>. release suggests a setting loose from confinement, restraint, or a state of pressure or tension, often without implication of permanent liberation <released his anger on a punching bag>. liberate stresses particularly the resulting state of liberty <liberated their country from the tyrant>. emancipate implies the liberation of a person from subjection or domination <labor-saving devices emancipated us from household drudgery>. manumit implies emancipation from slavery <the document manumitted the slaves>.



noun re·lease

Definition of release

  1. 1 :  relief or deliverance from sorrow, suffering, or trouble

  2. 2 a :  discharge from obligation or responsibility b (1) :  relinquishment of a right or claim (2) :  an act by which a legal right is discharged; specifically :  a conveyance of a right in lands or tenements to another having an estate in possession

  3. 3 a :  the act or an instance of liberating or freeing (as from restraint) b :  the act or manner of concluding a musical tone or phrase c :  the act or manner of ending a sound :  the movement of one or more vocal organs in quitting the position for a speech sound d :  the action or manner of throwing a ball <has a quick release>

  4. 4 :  an instrument effecting a legal release

  5. 5 :  the state of being freed

  6. 6 :  a device adapted to hold or release a mechanism as required

  7. 7 a :  the act of permitting performance or publication; also :  performance, publication <became a best seller on its release> b :  the matter released; especially :  a statement prepared for the press

Examples of release in a sentence

  1. the release of the hostages

  2. The prisoner is eligible for early release.

  3. There was a controversy over the release of wolves into the park.

  4. The prisoner was given an early release.

  5. the release of heat into the atmosphere

  6. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain that make you feel better.

  7. an accidental release of pollutants into the river

  8. They've filed a request for release from the contract.

  9. They're requesting a release from their contractual obligations.

  10. The release of the book is scheduled for next month.

Origin and Etymology of release

Middle English reles, from Anglo-French, from relesser

First Known Use: 14th century

RELEASE Defined for Kids



verb re·lease \ri-ˈlēs\

Definition of release for Students



  1. 1 :  to set free or let go of <The fish was caught and released.> <He released his hold on the rope.>

  2. 2 :  to allow to escape <The factory released chemicals into the river.>

  3. 3 :  to relieve from a duty, responsibility, or burden <She released him from his promise.>

  4. 4 :  to give up or hand over to someone else <I released my claim.>

  5. 5 :  to permit to be published, sold, or shown <The movie will be released next month.>



noun re·lease

Definition of release for Students

  1. 1 :  the act of setting free or letting go <release of a prisoner>

  2. 2 :  the act of allowing something to escape <the release of smoke>

  3. 3 :  a discharge from an obligation or responsibility

  4. 4 :  relief or rescue from sorrow, suffering, or trouble <release from pain>

  5. 5 :  a device for holding or releasing a mechanism

  6. 6 :  the act of making something available to the public

  7. 7 :  something (as a new product or song) that is made available to the public

Law Dictionary



transitive verb re·lease

Legal Definition of release



  1. 1a :  to relieve or free from obligation, liability, or responsibility <the debtor is released from all dischargeable debts> b :  to give up (a claim, title, or right) to the benefit of another person :  surrender

  2. 2 :  to set free from confinement <was released on personal recognizance>



noun re·lease

Legal Definition of release

  1. 1a :  discharge from an obligation or responsibility that bars a cause of action <did not effect a release of the school for any negligence> b :  the giving up or renunciation of a right or claim that bars a cause of action <was a release of the remainder of the debt> Editor's note: A release may in some situations require consideration in order to be valid. A release of one joint obligor sometimes is considered to release all the obligors.

  2. 2 :  an act or instrument that effects a release <signed a release issued by the insurer> —called also release of all claims — compare hold harmless

  3. 3 :  the act or instance of freeing especially from custody

Seen and Heard

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